Boxer Ben Whittaker WILL have chance to be Wolverhampton 'mayor'

Boxer Ben Whittaker will have the chance to become Mayor of Wolverhampton on his return from the Olympics, the city's current mayor has said.

Ben Whittaker will be boxing for gold in Tokyo after he beat Imam Khataev in the semi final
Ben Whittaker will be boxing for gold in Tokyo after he beat Imam Khataev in the semi final

The 24-year-old, from Darlaston, is eyeing up a gold medal ahead of his Olympic title bout on Wednesday in Japan.

Upon his return, Ben will be invited to take part in ceremonial events alongside the current mayor, Councillor Greg Brackenridge.

Councillor Brackenridge, a former boxer himself, said in response: "We are really proud of him. Everybody I am speaking to around Wolverhampton is proud of him because his family have got good Wolverhampton roots and background.

"We are behind him 100 per cent and whilst I admire how cheeky he is, if he does come back with that gold medal, then of course - he is an Olympic boxing champion - he can have what he wants, can't he?

"We will be looking to do something like that with him. He can come with me, or I can go with him, around a few mayoral visits one of the days, and he can wear the [ceremonial] chains.

"He could be mayor in the loosest possible sense. You have to be an elected councillor to become mayor, so technically we can't make him one, but we are going to go along with this, of course we are."

Ben wants Wolverhampton gold as well as Olympic gold

Councillor Brackenridge said he will be tuning in for the title fight later this week.

Along with Ben's sporting successes, Councillor Brackenridge praised him for putting Wolverhampton on the map with his mayoral comment.

He said: "I will be watching the final myself, of course.

"I was a keen amateur boxer myself, from the age of seven.

"I have always loved the discipline of the fighting sports and I understand how it helps a lot of people with self-esteem issues, it is a really good sport and very disciplined.

"I have got a real love of the sport that he is involved in, and I think it is absolutelty wonderful that we have got someone local who is fighting for a gold medal at the Olympics.

"Somebody that before the Olympics not many people had heard of, but he has really come and took the stage and made it his own.

Mayor Greg Brackenridge

"What he needs to do now is focus, absolutely focus on the task at hand, which I am sure he will be doing, and giving it his best shot.

"But whatever the outcome, we are proud of him."

He added: "The lad has put Wolverhampton on the map in a huge way. Internationally now, people are seeing who is the Mayor of Wolverhampton? Where is Wolverhampton?

"Suddenly people are starting to look so I think he has done a fantastic job by saying one short sentence at the end of his fight.

"I wish we could do that as politicians, have that kind of impact."

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